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NBTC warns RS over sales of set-top boxes for World Cup

The Broadcasting Committee will send a letter warning RS, the country's second-largest music and entertainment firm, that selling set-top boxes to view the World Cup would be in violation of the watchdog's "must-have" rule.

The committee under the National Broadcasting and Telecommuni-cations Commission (NBTC) will also remind other satellite-TV operators to strictly comply with its must-have rule or face a fine or possible revocation of licence, chairman Natee Sukonrat said yesterday.

RS has selected 22 of the 64 World Cup matches for free-to-air broadcast on Channel 7, while all the matches will be shown only on its own pay-TV service, using the World Cup 2014 box that will be launched on April 1.

However, under the must-have rule, holders of broadcasting rights to seven sports spectaculars - the Southeast Asian Games, Asean Para Games, Asian Games, Asian Para Games, Olympic Games, Paralympics and Fifa World Cup Final - must allow them to be aired on all free-TV channels besides their own media platforms.

Last April, RS petitioned the Central Administrative Court to issue an injunction against the rule and cancel it on the grounds that RS International Broadcasting and Sport Management had secured the World Cup broadcasting rights for Thailand before the rule went into effect in 2012.

The court declined to issue an injunction but agreed to hear the case.

Natee said the must-have rule is still in effect, pending the court's ruling.

RS has assigned K Master and Poly Broadcasting to distribute the World Cup boxes.

Natee said K Master and Poly Broadcasting will be deemed as breaching the must-have rule once consumers buy their boxes.

RS will be deemed to be breaking the rule once it begins broadcast of the event.

Consumers could be in trouble if they buy the boxes before the court ruling, he added.


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